Green Urban Efforts Series Part 5 – Pittsburgh, PA

By John Rose, September 4, 2015, Green

Green Urban Efforts Series Part 5 - Pittsburgh, PAWelcome to our Green Urban Efforts Series! With each installment, we’ll showcase how major cities in our service area can help you go green. If you live in or near these locales, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities provided. And if you live outside these areas, we recommend you bringing these ideas to your local government. It’s easy to make a difference in our world when we all do our part!

Having grown up in Pennsylvania, and coming from a Pittsburgh-area family, I grew up with the Steel City images of smog and industry firmly planted in my mind. Well, Pittsburgh – you surprised me. I was so overwhelmed by the long list of green initiatives located in the Pittsburgh area that it was hard to choose the select few to talk about in this piece.

Firstly, kudos should go to the City of Pittsburgh itself, which established an Office of Sustainability back in 2008. The Office has spearheaded many separate initiatives, each aimed at bringing a little more green back into the ‘burgh. They have focused on green building, redeveloping brownfield sites (abandoned industrial areas), requiring recycling for every business, resident, and institution in the City, and following a Climate Action Plan aimed at reducing impact on global warming. It should be no surprise then that Pittsburgh is awash with green initiatives when the City itself sets such a good example.

Green Urban Efforts Series Part 5 - Pittsburgh, PAIt’s the 21st century – more colleges and universities should implement effective recycling and sustainability plan. The slackers clearly need to visit the Pittsburgh area, where six area schools are listed in the Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges. In fact, Chatham University was the only North American school to win the Sustainable Campus Award in 2013 from the International Sustainable Campus Network. The school has implemented some outstanding green initiatives on their campus, including composting school-wide for all dining facilities; no water bottles are sold on campus (None! Not anywhere!); and a tax credit offered to employees who bike to work. I only hope more institutions follow their lead.

Finally, I have to thank this blog for introducing me to a international concept I was unaware of – Green Drinks. Green Drinks is a movement where people interested in sustainability and green initiatives meet monthly to share ideas and conversation, all while enjoying a beverage. Pittsburgh has an active Green Drinks chapter – your city may too, but if it doesn’t, you can start one! This is a fabulous way to meet like-minded people in your neighborhood and start making a difference. I will certainly be checking out my local meeting this month – beer and green conversation is my idea of a great time!

Want to read past installments of the series? Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4!

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